Farnaght is the first site the Native Woodland Trust acquired for planting with native species with the aim of turning it into new woodland.
Farnaght is a seven acre site situated in County Leitrim, in an undeveloped and peaceful part of the countryside, on the Longford-Leitrim border. The surrounding area abounds with wildlife, especially birds, with lakes, bogs and natural grasslands nearby.
The Native Woodland Trust purchased the site, in order to re-create natural woodland in the area. Approximately half of the 7-acre site is a dry sloping area of heavy clay soil, while the remaining half is low lying and wet.
A small area is occupied by three ancient Hawthorn trees (pictured above), believed to be several hundred years old. Traditionally known as "Fairy Thorns", these would have been considered somewhat sacred in the locality and this undoubtedly saved them from felling or other damage. We will continue to respect them, and no new trees will be planted in close proximity to them.
Planting on the site (which was pastureland) began several years ago, with birch, oak and crab apple currently establishing on the site. Trees of no commercial value, which are not being planted as part of new woodlands in Ireland – such as Elm and Black Poplar – will be included.
No trees will ever be harvested in this woodland and no hunting will ever be permitted.
During subsequent years after the initial planting, as the woodland canopy develops, the woodland will again be planted – this time with native woodland flowers such as Bluebells and Purple Orchids.
The woodland will then be allowed to regenerate naturally and provide a safe haven for wildlife and people alike - in perpetuity. A small portion of the site will be kept as a flower meadow, as species such as Yellow Rattle and Early Purple Orchid are already found here.
The Trust has been set up in such a way that even if it is dissolved, the woodlands must be transferred to the care of another similar organisation – so the continuity of your gesture is made certain.
In the satellite image above (which dates from several years ago), the western end of the site is at a higher elevation than the eastern, low lying end of the site. The satellite image shows several areas of planting which are developng well - a small square of birch has now reached over 5m tall, and is beginning to shade out the grass underneath, and we have seen tentative signs of wildflowers returning.